What is Marnie’s secret? What does a man have to do to understand this tormented and fractured woman?
Marnie isn’t like other Hitchcock films. There is no murder or real adventure. But it does have suspense and secrets and those were a specialty of the Master of Suspense.
“Marnie” stars Tippi Hedren as the title character. She is a thief and a woman living in deep denial. A childhood incident changed Marnie into this recluse not in touch with reality. Her only solace was after committing a robbery she could retire to a small inn and ride her horse, Fario. Well after pulling off her latest job she returns to her hideaway to find Marc (Sean Connery), the last man she had just robbed.
He blackmails her in a very gentlemanly way. He wipes her slate clean, pays back what she stole and tries to understand who Marnie is. He doesn’t let her go and threatens that if she leaves it is off to prison with her. Then he begins an elaborate ruse with his family as he marries Marnie and and goes about trying to unlock Marnie’s secrets. Marc nearly destroys himself all for love of a woman who can’t love him back.
What makes this film so different than other Hitchcock films is that there is no real sense of danger. The secrets and suspense are locked inside Marnie’s mind and we only get clues as Marc gets them.
Marc’s previous occupation as a zoologist/behaviorist really accent his character but also make us wonder what are his longtime plans for Marnie. Who is conning who? And is he really sincere or does he just have sick curiosity. If you see the film in this light it really a bizarre unconventional love story.
Tippi Hedren gives an Oscar worthy performance in this film but she wasn’t even recognized for her efforts. Marnie is a strong complicated character and it is no wonder that Hedren decided to continue with Hitchcock after they worked together on “The Birds”.
It is long documented about Hedren’s relationship with Hitchcock. How Hitch became obsessed with her and eventually trapped her. (Kind of like Marnie) And then she refused to work with him after Marnie and he blacklisted her. To this day, Hedren says that Hitch destroyed her career potential. There is a reason why they say “Marnie” was the last great Hitchcock movie. Because after he lost his latest muse in Tippi Hedren his later films suffered.
Connery delivers an incredibly strong performance beside Hedren. I really loved their chemistry but it is one of the strangest love stories I have seen. Connery made the film in between “From Russia with Love” and “Goldfinger” and a matter of a fact “Marnie” was released the same year as “Goldfinger”.
Like all great Hitchcock films before it, “Marnie” really is good to it’s last drop.
4.5 out of 5
So Says the Soothsayer